Until now we’ve paid lip service to rigorous assessment of big projects, and it’s hard to do more than that when they are inherently political.
Politicians have committed billions to projects without knowing if those projects are in the community’s interest.
When political leaders swap suits for hi-viz vests the costs of the promises they make are high, and often not well justified.
The major parties are promising tens of billions of dollars in transport spending, but only a handful of projects are on Infrastructure Australia’s national priority list with approved business cases.
Sydney’s WestConnex is being constructed as a “high priority” project, despite its business case failing to meet Infrastructure Australia’s stated requirements.
Analysis of the business cases for three of the biggest projects deemed “high priority” by Infrastructure Australia raises questions about the process.
Sydney’s bus services are a mix of public and private-operated routes, which complicates any estimates of potential cost savings.
Estimated cost savings for rail and bus franchising from Infrastructure Australia and PwC will have government treasurers salivating. Problem is, the figures are almost certainly far too high.
The public and finance sectors – but not the government, it seems – are questioning the wisdom of investing in infrastructure for projects like the Adani coal mine.
If infrastructure is to meet the needs and challenges of an uncertain future, we need to move beyond the AAA ratings mindset and aim for net-positive social and ecological outcomes as well.
Political calculations drove the Abbott and Baird governments’ decisions on investing taxpayers’ money in the WestConnex project.
Reckless government investment decisions are sadly the norm when it comes to transport infrastructure. Three key checks on the decision-making process can help ensure taxpayers get value for money.
Fencing goes up along the route of the Roe 8 highway construction project in Perth.
Perth’s Roe 8 project illustrates all that is wrong with how we are planning and managing infrastructure in our cities.
For as long as the government avoids rigorous, transparent processes, there is no reason to expect any real discipline in how it spends infrastructure dollars.
Ducking hard choices means avoiding change that could make a real improvement to the effectiveness of Australia’s infrastructure.
Sydney’s WestConnex road project has a surprisingly low ‘worst case’ cost estimate.
Our infrastructure systems should promise what is worth having, and then deliver what is promised.
The car-based logic of Melbourne’s 1969 transport plan has been deeply implanted into Victorians’ collective consciousness.
Most enlightened governments have realised the focus on private cars at the expense of active and public transport is not viable.
By persuading some drivers to travel a different route or at a different time, congestion charges can dramatically improve the flow of traffic.
Bigger cities increase wages, output and innovation, but also problems of congestion and pollution. Congestion charges can minimise these problems by dramatically improving traffic flows.
Despite Malcolm Turnbull’s enthusiasm for public transport, the Coalition tends to favour road projects over rail.
The Coalition, Labor, and the Greens are making substantial commitments to projects that not only lack proper business cases, but are not even on the Infrastructure Australia priority list at all.
While state and territory leaders will be partners, Malcolm Turnbull’s government intends to be the driver of a national policy for Australia’s cities.
The Turnbull government’s cities policy is the latest incarnation of ‘the-Commonwealth-knows-best’ approach, with little regard for whether urban issues are best resolved at the metropolitan level.
It’s become conventional wisdom that Australia has an infrastructure deficit – with remarkably little discussion of what that even means.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
How can we tell whether we have an infrastructure deficit? And if we do, how big is it?
The report criticises the state’s failure to adequately integrate the planning of land use development and transport priorities, but falls into the same trap itself.
Infrastructure Australia’s latest report is substantial but, critically, it fails to incorporate the transport thinking needed to develop more compact cities that work better for everyone.
The government is hoping asset recycling will lead to major infrastructure investments, but its success could lie elsewhere.
UPDATE: This piece originally said the Asset Recycling Initiative had been passed by the Senate. Subsequent to publication, the amended legislation was rejected by the House of Representatives. The piece…
Industry assistance cuts will have long-term impacts on Australia’s international competitiveness.
Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com
The 2014 Budget has been variously celebrated and reviled as a “budget for corporate Australia”. But this assessment is based on the premise that corporate tax cuts and infrastructure spending will provide…
Sell the antiques, pay for the house extension: capital recycling could be one way of funding new infrastructure.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has spent much of the year – certainly since the G20 finance ministers’ conference in Sydney – talking up “capital recycling”. The idea sounds promising: new projects can be built…